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Scout Report by Wrestlingscout
WWF in Japan Best Card Possible?
Let's be honest, the show's over a month away and they've already announced the full card. Now we all know the WWF's luck with injuries and so fourth, so to assume the mediocre card they announced is carved in stone is foolish. That "Card Subject to Change" clause might want to be exercised in the near future, seeing that this card doesn't equal a full house (pardon the Poker pun).
Now I'm no booker and in fact I'd probably be one of the worst people to give the book to because what I like and what is popular are not exactly the same. I do think I know the Japanese market however and know the WWF roster pretty well. I think they could definitely offer something that content-wise would make for a good-to-very good show in Japan and would be an outstanding one by United States standards. Even though the WWF might be shooting themselves in the foot by braving a tough foreign market with such a culture-based product, I think they could do something decent. I think the fact is anything you give Singapore or Malaysia will do well and they are not going to bust out the best card possible just to please this one educated crowd.
Now here's what I'd do (assuming this is possible), I also won't assume anyone inactive now could wrestle on that show, though they probably could.
Dean Malenko vs. Christian. This one given the right time and assuming Dean was ready to go would have real potential. I chose this because I heard these two on the LAW one time and Malenko said he wished he could take someone like Christian to Japan. I think Dean, doubling as a road agent, would love to compete in front of the Japanese fans. They would certainly remember him and I'm sure he'd put fourth his best effort. Ring rust though could be a determining factor and this one might want to be bumped up a spot if it was.
William Regal vs. Saturn. Though you could pair either of these guys with just about anyone whose above average and you'll get something good, I think they'd have a nice visual contrast. One of the hard things is the language gap and the fact that most wrestlers are not great ring psychologists. These two though could have nice matwork, stiff striking exchanges and Saturn can add some flying. The visual is also nice with the prissy Regal and the bizarre Saturn being so contrasting it doesn't leave much of a story to tell. They could however just have a balls-out great match that could be condensed if need be or extended (as most would prefer).
Billy Kidman vs. Chavo Guerraro Jr. Two former WCW Cruisers who can still go. I thought about Hurricane, but his gimmick would detract from the solid junior match(es) this show would need. I actually think bringing up Kaz Hayashi to work with either of these two would be even better because I think he's better than both and has native appeal. That isn't going to happen, so put two solid juniors in there, play the time by ear, but I'd say 10 minutes tops, unless these guys have been reborn or something. I actually think if they brought up/in/over Hayashi, Shannon Moore, Jaime Knoble and another junior or use Helms or someone, they could have a nice little six-man as is puroresu big-show tradition.
Edge vs. Lance Storm. Not that anyone would necessarily think highly of former WAR gaijin Storm, but at least he's been there (and speaks highly of it). Edge is carriable and Storm can make guys look really good at times. This one would determine greatly on its length and how well these two click. This would have to be played by ear and could be the typical 5-6 minutes if it wasn't working and be pushed to 15-20 if it was good.
Rob Van Dam vs. Chris Jericho. Though I haven't seen any of their pay-per-view matches, I hear they're good, so why not? If it's a stinker, the Japanese fans won't be overly disappointed because neither guy was above lower mid-card in Japan. If it's really good, they have a pleasant surprise. These guys are known though and that is definitely important. I think stinking Jericho in the main event is death, especially because if he's the champion, he won't go over clean and that's a big no-no.
Tajiri vs. Funaki. Seems like such a no-brainer to me. I didn't even see the dark match they had that stole the show, but I've seen enough Tajiri and even Funaki on Jakked still shines. These two could just have the well-rounded junior match and I'd say it'd be a MOTYC (for WWF at least) if they were given the time. Both have the charisma, though Tajiri's is otherworldly. If the ECW mutants ate up Tajiri's Otani-level entertainment, surely the Japanese fans would. Funaki could add some nice matwork, Tajiri offers up a little highflying and stiff kicks. I see nothing beneath *** if these guys are given the time.
Kane vs. Big Show. Both these guys are already on the card wrestling DDP and Haku respectively why? I'm not a fan of either, but they can wow the crowd with their size. Kane is decent and seems like the best big man to pair with Show (as the WWF's doing it yet again right now). Just have a short little brawl, do a double count out even, it doesn't matter, they represent the "freak appeal" Andre used do, Show as a huge guy and Kane as a physical specimen. After what would probably be a solid undercard, this would slow things down for the main.
Steve Austin vs. Kurt Angle. Neither is on the card and one should be. I know Austin doesn't think much of Japan and I don't why Angle isn't there (I guess Vince thinks Japanese fans won't know Olympians or won't like them, which is laughable). Think of all the stars of puroresu who competed in the Olympics and most didn't even place, now think of how that elevated their stock, think how good Angle is what in the hell is the WWF thinking. So he's our national hero, he's still an Olympian and a gold medal winner nonetheless. Alexander Karelin drew big and he was Russian. That aside, Angle is talented in the ring. Stone Cold or The Rock needed to main event this thing. I feel the track record of very good Austin-Angle matches is the safest bet, though I think Rocky's the bigger star. I actually think Angle would be on par with Austin popularity-wise, but he'd job to Austin either way.
I know the WWF could actually do even better than this. I actually wonder if any of their matches will be better than any of the matches here potentially are (aside from Kane-Show). I can't believe I can book a card with this potential and we get the crap we do out of the WWF. I guess that's why I'm not surprised with the card they're running.
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